Minister: CPI ranking ‘fair indication’ of corruption level in public sector

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the government would take action on two key fronts — enforcement and prevention. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the government would take action on two key fronts — enforcement and prevention. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Malaysia’s latest global ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is a fair indication of the perceived level of corruption in the public sector, a minister has said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the government would take action on two key fronts — enforcement and prevention.

He also commended the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) on its efforts but said the high profile activities of the MACC over 2017 could have contributed to the country’s downgrade, going from 55th place out of 180 countries to 62nd.

“The commission has over the past year has shown its strong commitment to reinforcing the MACC Act by making numerous arrests, including many high profile individuals.

“The high degree of publicity and exposure given by the MACC to these cases, especially over the last year may create a more negative perception which could have contributed to the drop in CPI Score and ranking,” he said.

Low added that the government would work towards long-term and sustainable preventative programmes and initiatives.

“Our preventative initiatives have focused on improving our institutional governance infrastructure and building a strong organisational culture of honesty and accountability within the public sector.

“We have expanded the Integrity and Governance Division to the new Integrity and Governance Department,” he said.

Low said the government had also made moves towards punishing those handing out bribes in addition to those receiving them as part of laying the groundwork for a stronger governance ecosystem by proposing a Corporate Liability provision as an amendment to the MACC Act.

“It aims to make companies who fail to implement adequate anti-corruption procedures liable for the corrupt actions of their employees.

“This proposed legislation will bring us on par with the leading standards currently practiced around the world,” he said.

Malaysia’s global ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) annual CPI has declined again, falling to 62 out of 180 countries surveyed last year.

In 2016, Malaysia ranked 55th out of 176 countries.

Malaysia is currently on par with Cuba, Romania and just behind Saudi Arabia in terms of ranking.

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